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The Samurai's Gardenby Gail Tsukiyama
Reading Group Guide
1. The title of the novel obviously alludes to Matsu's garden, but to whom else could the title refer as a "Samurai"? Why?
2. The garden acts as a center or core of the novel. All three central characters (Stephen, Matsu, and Sachi) find some sense of comfort in tending the garden. What are some of the metaphors for the garden and how are they worked out in the novel?
3. Loneliness, solitude, and isolation are all themes that permeate the novel throughout. How do the three central characters' approaches to these feelings vary, resemble each other, and evolve?
4. It appears as though Stephen and Sachi are somehow juxtaposed. How is this connection represented and developed?
5. How is the politically turbulent time at which The Samurai's Garden takes place approached in the novel? Is it a strongly political novel or does the world of Tamuri somehow defy and avoid the political turmoil of the era?
6. How is Stephen and Keiko's relationship represented? Examine it in relation to the courtships of the past--Kenzo and Sachi, as well as Matsu and Sachi.
7. As the novel progresses, Stephen stops longing to return to his home and in fact dreads having to leave Tamuri. What provokes this change of heart? Also, how does this sentiment affect the ending of the novel?
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